World news

In Gambia, a syrup that kills

After the deaths of at least 66 young children in The Gambia, the World Health Organization has opened an investigation and launched a “medical product alert” October 6 regarding four cough and cold syrups. These syrups are contaminated with “unacceptable quantities” of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, specified the WHO after analysis of samples.

These are Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup, and Magrip N Cold Syrup. All four were produced by the Indian laboratory Maiden pharmaceuticals which manufactures them only for export.

Toxic, even deadly substances

When ingested, these substances are toxic and even fatal. They create “abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, inability to urinate, headache, altered mental status, and acute kidney injury which may lead to death”, says the WHO.

This type of poisoning is sometimes the result of suicidal intent. In Gambia, in this small country among the poorest on the planet, at least 66 children died.

This alert comes very late. The WHO was informed at the beginning of September. The organization specifies that the Gambian health authorities declared on September 9 that they had opened an investigation in mid-July when 28 children had already died of acute kidney failure. They would then have asked health establishments to no longer use paracetamol syrups, then ordered, on September 23, the recall of the offending products and finally decided, on October 5, to launch an operation to recover them.

The deficiencies of the laboratory in India

The WHO is concerned that these syrups may also have circulated via the informal market in The Gambia or other countries in Africa or Asia, even though, according to the Indian Ministry of Health, the syrups were only exported to The Gambia. The WHO also wonders about the risk that other products from the Indian laboratory could have been manufactured with the same contaminated material.

According to the Indian press, in thirty-two years of existence, the Maiden laboratory has repeatedly had trouble with the control authorities in India for drugs that do not meet quality standards.

A shadow on Indian medicines

Among the various cases brought to light, the daily Hindustan Times reports that, five times in nine months, treatments for type 2 diabetes from the laboratory have been singled out for poor quality in laboratory tests carried out in the state of Kerala. According to India Today, he was even blacklisted by the Bihar government in 2011 for non-compliant drugs. In Haryana, where one of its production units is located, the company has reportedly been charged with offenses relating to tampering, etc.

Public health researcher and former president of the International Bioethics Association Anant Bhan denounces in the daily columns the “serious regulatory failure on the part of the drug authorities” and claim “a transparent investigation to understand where the flaws are in production, transport or after its importation into The Gambia”. Otherwise, he believes, such a tragedy will fuel distrust of Indian pharmaceuticals around the world.

In 2007, contaminated toothpaste

These substances, diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, are commonly used in products like antifreeze. But they are also found in very small doses in the composition of food additives, in cosmetics or medicines. “They do not enter into the direct composition of a finished product, but can be a synthesis intermediate”says Franck Saint Marcoux, professor of pharmacy at the University of Limoges.

In 2007, several European and American health authorities issued a worldwide alert concerning toothpastes containing diethylene glycol. This was then banned for use in toothpaste.

In 2018, the European Commission amended the regulations to restrict the levels of ethylene glycol and diethylene glycol residues used in the composition of the food additive E1209.

Source link

Related posts
World news

Losing Crimea: the colossal defeat that Vladimir Putin fears

World news

Marine Tondelier, an activist to carry the EELV flag

World news

In Tunisia, the tenacious scourge of violence against women

World news

"He has above all confidence in himself": a year later, Olaf Scholz still as enigmatic

Sign up for our Newsletter and
stay informed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *